The Self-Isolation Chronicles: Oldham

1. The club once trialled two American Footballers.

In 1971, Chris Macedo and Sam Moore signed as triallists for Oldham and played a few games in the “A” team (for the younger folk here, that’s not the one with Mr. T but what reserve teams were called at the time). Moore was then selected for a first-team game at home to Blackpool and twice tried an American Football type throw, high and far across the field to the winger. However, both were intercepted and resulted in tries for Blackpool, who eventually won the game. Moore and Macedo then never appeared for training the following week and were never seen again.

2. They once signed an Olympic shot-putter.

Arthur Rowe had represented Great Britain in the shot put at the 1960 Olympics in Rome but then gave up his amateur status by signing for Oldham in Rugby League. His first appearances for the “A” team drew thousands of spectators and at 26 years of age, 6′ 2″ tall and weighing over 18 stones he played on the wing where he scattered opponents when in possession and it took several players to tackle him (those who saw him make a comparison to Jonah Lomu). However, after a handful of games, Arthur decided the game was too tough for him and left the club. With no longer being an amateur, he could then not go back to athletics and became a regular on the professional Scottish Highland Games circuit where he was eventually crowned World caber-tossing champion.

3. Oldham have won every match they have ever played on a certain date of the year.

Since Rugby League began in 1895, Oldham have played 6 matches on 29th February – and won them all! They have played on that date in: 1908, 1936, 1964, 1968, 1976 and 2008 and have a 100% record. In fact the points they have conceded in each of those games are 2, 5, 7, 2, 5 and 8 which equals 29! Cue the conspiracy theories.

4. They had most-prolific try-scoring debut in the history of the sport.

On 31st October 1908, winger James Miller made his debut for Oldham in an away game at Barry, South Wales but only due to their usual International winger George Tyson having been selected to play for Lancashire the same day. Oldham defeated Barry 54-0, with debutant Miller scoring 7 tries – still an Oldham club record for the most individual tries in one game. However, the next week Tyson was back in his usual position and Miller found himself again in the reserves. In fact, Miller was unfortunate with injuries and made only four more appearances for Oldham, scoring just two more tries – ironically both in the return fixture at home to Barry on New Year’s Day in 1909.

5. Oldham Rugby League and Oldham Athletic hold a shared, but unwanted, record.

Since the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final was moved to Wembley in 1929, Oldham RLFC have appeared in seven semi-finals and have lost each one of them – the most semi-finals any club has appeared in without ever playing at Wembley. Similarly, Oldham Athletic have appeared in three FA Cup semi-finals and never won through to the final – and although sharing that record with Norwich and former club Swifts, it is also the most any club has played in without reaching the decider.